A final vote on an incentive package for a potential $2.4 billion electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in New Carlisle has been pushed back two weeks. The St. Joseph County Council on Tuesday heard an update on the project from local officials and Ultium Cells LLC on its plans for the 2.5 million-square-foot facility, which could bring 1,600 jobs to the area.
“After listening to some community input and having some other conversations, an additional two weeks in the process working with [Ultium] was probably the right way to go,” said Bill Schalliol, executive director of economic development for St. Joseph County.
During the council’s meeting, Schalliol said the county wants to ensure everything is in order ahead of the vote.
“We want to make sure that the tax abatement’s set up properly, that all the information is there, is correct, and that the development agreement that will come before you on the 27th meets all the concerns of not only the council, redevelopment commission, [and] board of commissioners, but also questions expressed by the town, the township and just the community at large,” Schalliol told the council.
Ultium Cells is a joint venture between General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and LG Energy Solution in South Korea. The company has not yet selected a site for the facility and is considering other locations in addition to New Carlisle.
Last month, the council approved a declaratory resolution establishing an economic revitalization area inside the Indiana Enterprise Center. A vote on a confirming resolution is expected to take place on Sept. 27.
Additionally, Schalliol says officials expect to have an economic development agreement in place that will be presented to the county’s redevelopment commission and board of commissioners the morning of the 27th, ahead of the council meeting.
Brock Herr, senior vice president of business retention, expansion and attraction with the Indiana Economic Development Corp., says an approval of state incentives is expected to come prior to the next council meeting.
“The state and the IEDC are extremely excited that [Ultium] is compiling a competitive business case to potentially select St. Joseph County as the site for its next battery cell operation facility,” said Herr. “The state truly believes that this is going to have obvious and immediate state, local and regional financial benefits and impacts but also long-term economic stability.”
Herr did not provide any specifics on a state incentive package for the project.
South Bend Regional Chamber CEO Jeff Rea says a decision from Ultium on which site it will build the facility is expected to come “in the next month or so.”
Ultium Cells is currently developing three other manufacturing plants in Warren, Ohio; Spring Hill, Tennessee; and Lansing, Michigan. All three come with similar investment and job numbers.
Officials addressed a few concerns expressed at the previous council meeting, including the plants potential impact on a nearby aquifer. In addition to a previous assurance from Ultium regarding maintaining all materials inside the building, Town Engineer Jared Huss said the company has committed to additional monitoring of groundwater and water quality from the aquifer.
The chamber has launched a web portal with more information on the project, which you can view by clicking here.